I often meet expat families who never leave South Jakarta and I totally get it. It takes a lot of energy to get the kids out and the fear of getting stuck in traffic can be paralyzing.
We don’t often venture out for the same reasons, but when we do, here’s how we do it:
- recruit adventurous friends (if we are going to be stuck on the road, or somewhere s@#$%, it’ll still be fun if we’re with people we love)
- keep an open mind AND set low expectations (you might be pleasantly surprised!)
This is what we did the first time we went to the Mangroves. I wasn’t very keen and had really low expectations, turns out we all had a great time there and even went back a couple more times.
What you can do there
The park at the entrance is a bit sad and could really do without the caged monkeys and deers. Walk straight to the boat deck, which is also where the bamboo paths start.
- Explore the mangroves by boat
We took a 30 min ride through the mangrove (Rp400,000 for 8 people) and enjoyed being out in the open. The scenery is surprisingly green and it did feel like we had left the city.
We also spotted wild animals: big birds, and big lizards swimming in the water and hanging on trees.
- Explore by foot
Bamboo paths offer a nice walk throughout the mangroves and a chance to spot little crabs and eels. There are usually other visitors on weekends but it never felt very crowded.
I didn’t see restaurants but there were street food vendors.
The Mangroves are located only 5 minutes away from PIK (Pantai Indah Kapuk) , which has many dinning options. We all love Bornga (which works surprisingly well for vegetarians too!) and usually stop there for lunch before heading home.
What to bring
The usuals (sunhat, mosquito repellent, water bottle…) plus binoculars for bird/lizard watching.
How long does it take?
We usually head there on Saturday mornings, and it takes about 30min to get there from South Jakarta, a bit longer to come back in the early afternoon.